One of my desires for a long time has been to spend more time praying together as a family. The problem is… we’re busy. Like so many other families, I feel like we roll out of bed in the morning and keep running until everyone is tucked back into bed in the evening. When my friend Trisha McManus told me about their newest project, it seemed like the perfect solution to my desire. The Family Prayer Journal is a practical tool to encourage family prayer that also shows your faith journey.
I was provided with a copy of this book to review courtesy of the authors; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Family Prayer Journal begins with a list of 7 benefits to developing a habit of prayer, from “prayerful parents = peaceful kids” to creating a family history. Cam and Trisha share some ideas for getting started. They are the parents of a busy three-year-old boy and each have a career of their own, so they know what it’s like to try fitting in some family prayer time! Trisha shares,
PRayer times should fit your family schedule. For example, weekday prayers can be a little shorter and weekends can be longer. Try different lengths of time and see what works best for each season of your family. As the family matures, prayer times can be extenddd and become deeper conversations with our Lord and each other.
Next, there are some ideas for “How to Do the Prayer Journal.” Here, Trisha explains the format of the journal’s daytime and nighttime prompts, as well as the week start and week end. Using the journal, the family will learn vocal and mental prayers. Prayer time starts and ends with traditional, vocal prayers which can be said together or various family members can take turns leading. In the middle, the family silently prays mentally together. At the end of the prayer time, each has a chance to share what they’ve felt or thought.
Two pages of sample journal entries are provided to give you an idea what this might look like.
Once you’re ready to start, everyone can write their names on the Family Commitment page and sign it. Then you’re ready to begin!
Using The Family Prayer Journal
We began using The Family Prayer Journal early in January. Having a book provided a great reminder that we needed to pray. For example, it was easy to leave the book in an obvious place to remind us to pray together at the start and end of each day. My 6-year-old in particular really liked getting it out for us to pray together. So far, the girls have asked me to the be the scribe, but some of them have enjoyed doodling around the edges of the pages.
I have to admit, I love journals, notebooks, planners. There’s something about the blank pages that provide a sense of anticipation and new beginnings, while the pages that we’ve filled in offer a feeling of accomplishment and purpose. We’ve missed a few days, so we haven’t exactly started and ended each “week” of prayer in exactly seven days, but there’s always time to restart the habit and to come back together in prayer.
I’ve paired The Family Prayer Journal with resources on the Hallow app, which I find helps the kids focus during our prayer time. For example, we’ll say our vocal prayers together. Then I’ll pick some quiet, prayerful music (such as Gregorian chant) or a brief reflection on a saint to meditate on or a Psalm to pray through together. I find that often in my prayer time, my thoughts are scattered, jumping from my to-do list to the itchy spot on my nose to which kid is making annoying noises right now. As Trisha says, there are seasons in family life. Right now, it helps all of us to have something to help us focus our thoughts on prayer, whether that’s music, an inspiring saint’s life, or Scripture.
Start Praying as a Family Today!
The Family Prayer Journal is available on Amazon in both hardcover (US only) and softcover. We’ve got the softcover, but I can already see that in about six months of kids pulling it on and off the bookshelf, that cover is going to look a little more worse for wear.
The start of Lent next week could be the perfect time to start a new habit together—a habit of prayer. The Family Prayer Journal will guide and encourage you in developing this habit and starting this journey together. And as the saying goes… if you can do something for 40 days, you’ll probably keep doing it! While many of us think of giving things up for Lent, it’s also a great idea to think of adding something more—starting a good habit to replace a bad habit you want to quit.
You can follow CamKam Books on YouTube to hear Cam and Trisha introduce The Family Prayer Journal and provide an example of how to use it (complete with ther toddler climbing all over the place while they try to pray!).
More about Cam & Trisha McManus
Cameron and Trisha McManus are a husband and wife team who started creating books together after their son was born. Cam has written three saint books which Trisha has illustrated: Nicholas the Giver, Valentine the Loving, and George the Dragon Slayer. By day, Cameron is a teacher at a local Catholic school with Trisha is a marriage and family therapist. They are parents to a busy three-year-old son, a daughter in heaven, and a third baby on the way.
Trisha was inspired to create The Family Prayer Journal after the loss of their daughter, Charity. As she struggled with her grief, Trisha turned to the sources that had gotten her through other hard times—her faith, her family, her clients, and her studies. She found that connecting daily with Jesus in conversation helped her gradually move forward while discovering new parts of herself. As a therapist, she’s seen families find healing through sharing, listening and understanding each other.
More resources for family prayer:
- This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano
- Through the Year with Jesus by Katherine Bogner
- Praying the Stations of the Cross as a Family
How do you pray together as a family?